Councils give £47 million funding boost to London’s digital infrastructure

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

Almost £47 million has been awarded by the 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation to eight major projects that will benefit London’s businesses, with a particular focus on digital infrastructure to boost economic growth.

This £46.83 million funding boost comes from the business rates retention scheme currently being piloted in London, which enabled London government to keep the growth in business rates collected in the capital this year.

Investing in London’s digital infrastructure is a key aim of many of the projects awarded funding by the boroughs and the City Corporation. These projects include installing fast fibre-optic broadband connections in strategic locations, investing in digital-enabled workspaces, establishing an internet of things platform to gather data relevant to councils and developing an Open Data Standard for planning applications.

Cllr Peter John OBE, Chair of London Councils, said:

“London boroughs, the City of London Corporation and the Mayor are determined to ensure that the business rates funding we receive delivers strategic benefits to London’s business community.

“Today’s announcement shows that we have our finger on the pulse in terms of what London needs – digital infrastructure worthy of a 21st century global city.”

London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, said:

“These investments reflect the Mayor and the boroughs’ new city-wide commitment to improving digital connectivity.

“We are mobilising new investment to support businesses and citizens by working closely with councils to improve customer choice and target ‘not spots’.

“Our work together sets solid foundations for future 5G technologies in London, which will create new jobs and make London a smarter city.”

The eight projects that have been awarded funding are:

• £11.13 million to skills and productivity and digital investment in West London

Two programmes delivered by the West London Alliance: an evidence-based productivity and skills programme to support individuals and businesses in West London; and a major extension of the high speed fire network across the seven West London boroughs, targeting internet ‘not spots’ located in growth and regeneration areas.

• £7.7 million to Local London for investment in fibre-optic broadband

Upgrading internet connections to fibre-optic broadband at key public sector sites across nine London boroughs in North East London, which will attract and anchor investment by the commercial sector and deliver significant improvement in public sector service delivery.

• £4 million to the South London multi-purpose Internet of Things platform

Establishing a sustainable, region-wide, multi-purpose Internet of Things (IoT) platform connecting various IoT-enabled sensors across council boundaries to gather data about, for example, air quality, traffic, footfall and parking space availability.

• £250,000 to the Open Data Standard for planning

Development of an open data standard for planning applications to transform the quality of strategic planning and administration of planning permission. Planning data needs to be in a consistent format across different boroughs and this work would provide a single end to end solution that boroughs could use, with no providers in the market currently offer.

• £8 million to the South London innovation corridor

Funding for central (South Bank, Vauxhall, Nine Elms Battersea) and local growth clusters (Brixton, New cross, Old Kent Road, Peckham, Camberwell and Wandsworth) to provide workspace, business support and talent development.

• £5.75 million to Productive Valley

Investment in the Productive Valley area of South Tottenham, which includes delivery of good quality employment space, a loan fund for local businesses and bringing partners together to agree a development masterplan for Rigg Approach, a 5 hectare area of land.

• £3 million to the Euston Recruitment Hub

To build the Euston Construction Skills Centre, which would deliver bespoke construction skills training for key construction companies, general construction training, rail and engineering training opportunities and STEM skills. It would also pilot new building methods such as off-site manufacturing.

• £7 million to South Dock Bridge

South Dock Bridge is a proposed new footbridge to provide a fully accessible link to South Quay within the Canary Wharf estate, near its new Elizabeth line and Jubilee line stations. This will unlock new housing and commercial development and connect the Isle of Dogs with the Canary Wharf commercial district.

London boroughs, the City Corporation and the Mayor argued for 100 per cent business rates retention to demonstrate that London is capable of investing its own business rates revenue to help London’s economy and businesses grow and thrive.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Background

In 2017, the Mayor, London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London Corporation established the London Business Rates Pool, with the agreement of central Government.

This means London retains 100 per cent of any growth in business rates income over and above the business rates baseline set by Government for the financial year 2018/2019.

As part of the deal, 15 per cent of this extra funding, around £52 million, is being channelled to a Strategic Investment Pot. London Councils and the City of London Corporation convened a panel of senior officers from across London to consider bids for this funding from across the capital. Today’s announcement reveals the successful bids for this funding pot.